How the “Internet of Things” is changing the cleaning industry?
The only constant in life is change. This is something we experience personally and individually as we pass through the different stages of our lives. These are usually small changes that we do not notice instantly, but only after many years. Sometimes these are revolutionary events that occur suddenly and turn everything upside down – like the birth of a child. In addition to purely individual events, our lives are also influenced by numerous megatrends, i.e. defining forces that initiate change processes that affect us all over a long period of time and which we cannot evade. Examples are globalisation, urbanisation, population growth and demographic change, growing individualism, changes in energy and resources or the increasing proliferation of technology. In the case of the latter trend, the development of the “Internet of Things” plays a special role, the affects of which are more revolutionary in their effects than evolutionary – because it will impact greatly on our lives at extraordinary speed and reinforce the effects of other megatrends. The predictions are clear: whereas today (end of 2014) about 12 billion objects are connected to the Internet, i.e. about 1.7 objects for each person on this planet, this figure is estimated to rise to 33 billion objects by the end of 2020, half of which without direct interface to people. They form the “Internet of Things” and will revolutionise our lives with their silent and growing number: they make difficult decisions for us, offer more comfort, help to save time… The Internet of Things, even if it still seems to be a vision of the future, has long since been part of our daily lives. Ultimately, it is no longer our computers and mobile phones that are connected to the Internet. In the meantime, many devices are “Smart”: washing machines, thermostats, refrigerators, shutters, wristwatches – many objects are already connected to the Internet. This allows us to start a washing machine on a 60° wash, regulate room temperatures in our home, control garden watering via an app or also monitor our power consumption – from anywhere. An application from the area of energy technology, for example, is an energy-self-sufficient housing estate with its own smart grid.
And for some time now, not only futurologists have been concerned with scenarios based on highly networked infrastructures. Moreover, it is city planners, architects and naturally numerous industries and service providers who, with their products and associated manufacturing processes, adapt themselves to or promote the widespread use of “smart” objects. This naturally also affects the cleaning industry as such – both on the manufacturer side and at user level.